Jamaican Jerk Curry
There are few things as challenging as a food blogger as having to cook a cuisine for a challenge that you have no familiarity with. While I’m familiar with Jamaica, the bits I know are from books and movies – which is something I need to correct. In looking for recipes I noted a fondness for peanuts and pork, two things that aren’t exactly welcome in my house. However I kept looking and googling for common ingredients, and with that decided to take the base of a few Jerk Curry recipes I found and make them vegetarian friendly. I also decided to make my own jerk seasoning, using this recipe I found on AllRecipes.com, which was easy to make and mostly required standard pantry spices.
This dish was a HUGE hit – can’t begin to explain how much my husband enjoyed it! The combination of sweet and spicy was perfection, and the rice gave just the right amount of texture to the dish. It might have a rather long ingredient list but it was totally worth it, another great find thanks to /52weeksofcooking.
Every now and then I tend to bite off more than I can chew when it comes to blog challenges, and this week’s r/52weeksofcooking is a prime example. The theme this week was Indian which is a cuisine I’m familiar with and have done a few times in the past. However I wanted to try something different so instead of my standard tomato based curry I decided to attempt a yogurt based dish, and then go the extra step in making it vegan. I researched a variety of different dishes before finally deciding on Navratan Korma which translates to Nine Gems Curry. For my nine gems I settled on: peas, green beans, Indian Eggplant, green bell pepper, tofu (or paneer), Indian red chilies, shallots, cashews, and carrots. I debated about using cauliflower or broccoli but it’s still too early in the season for them and couldn’t find any at the local market. Needless to say this is a very (very!!!) prep-heavy dish with lots of cleaning and cutting.
I started prep work with the tofu in order to give it time to press before moving on to the eggplant, for similar reasons, and then all the remaining vegetables. To figure out the right spices I looked at a variety of online recipes before finally settling on the below combination. For a more traditional dish use paneer in place of tofu, just keep it mind it will cook a lot faster than tofu and might require additional vegetable oil in order to brown.
I served the cashews only on top of mine since I couldn’t find a bag that was marked in such a way to indicate it was 100% peanut free. This dish might have taken a while to get started but it’s incredibly quick to come together and delicious – making all the cutting worth it! I also have a feeling this dish would work well in a slow cooker and look forward to testing that theory shortly.
Note: I’m submitting this to the So Delicious Dairy Free Recipe Contest
Sweet Potato Chili
Looking out the window it’s more than a little clear Mother Nature has forgotten to take her medication. We’re almost a week in to spring yet there is snow on the ground and more falling from the sky, which isn’t exactly spring in my book. This is the time of year for starting a garden, looking at the Cherry Blossoms, and sorting through the past season’s clothes. Instead I’m pulling out my snow boots and trying to figure out how to navigate my curvy slightly hilly street in order to get to the main roads and work. However I have a secret recipe for days like this: sweet potato chili. My first experience with this vegan delight was at my in-laws the day we told them we were engaged, needless to say just one bite of this winter weather soup warms me up heart and soul. This is a slightly spicier version of that soup, but for a gentler variation just leave out the jalapeno and add chili powders to taste.
I enjoy topping mine with some Greek Yogurt while Joe tends to go for shredded cheese and sour cream – either option is delicious! This dish can also be done in the slow cooker, follow the above directions and after the onion/garlic have cooked just add everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hrs or high for 2.5 hrs. For those seeking an even hotter chili, switch the jalapeno for a serrano (or habanaro!) pepper.
Note: So Delicious has no idea who I am, I just enjoy their products and more often then not they have awesome coupons on their website!
Second Note: Yes there is a hair on the lens but it wasn’t noticed until the picture was inserted and the last of the chili had been devoured – sorry!!!!
Salsa Verde Black Bean Tacos
Last meet submission for the /52weeksofcooking Taco Week challenge! I actually made this on Monday but had a rather insane week that resulted in way more delays then I thought possible. When it comes to tacos I tend to make my black bean sweet potato ones, after all they served at our rehearsal dinner so I’m more than a little partial. However for this challenge I wanted to go outside of my normal taco shell and try something really different. The first thing I wanted to do was make a soft taco, and with that a filling that would have some bit to it as a contrast to the shell. I wanted to keep beans as the primary protein but wanted to include something different. After debating squash, zucchini, green peppers, and tomatoes I decided to try tomatillos – seeing as how I’m a huge fan of salsa verde. I still wanted tomatoes, and more color, so I made some pico de gallo and also cut up some avacados to give them an extra boost. The end results were flavorful and extremely filling soft tacos that provided the perfect punch of heat.
For additional toppings Joe added cheese to his tacos while I stuck with some sour cream and some salsa verde. I’m sure there are other ways I could have incorporated the tomatillos but cooking everything in the same pan allowed the the flavors to all build and blend, resulting in a delicious combination of flavors.
Poached Eggplant with Spicy Korean Sauce
Time for /52weeks! This week was a real challenge, since I’ve had Korean maybe once before and had never attempted to cook it. Luckily I have a few vegetarian cookbooks that include ethnic cuisines and found a great base recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. After Googling a few of the ingredients, and trying to figure out how I could get the same general flavor without the lemon juice or peanut oil. I also debated on how to best cook the eggplant, either the poached in the original recipe or the steamed version that was suggested. In the end I decided to go poached since I have never done that before, and might as well go all new!
This sauce is amazingly versatile, when I do this again I plan to double the sauce and add some fried or baked tofu to the mix. I think it would also go well with rice or buckwheat noodles instead of the rice – just to be a little different. This challenge just proved once again that trying out new techniques and styles can be very tasty! Also, be sure to check out World Vegetarian for the recipe that inspired this dish